Clarion Area middle school one step closer to reality

The Clarion Area School Board approved a “middle school model affirmation” for the 2023-24 school year.

The measure passed by an 8-0 margin (board president Hugh Henry was absent) at the board’s regular meeting July 12.

Prior to the vote, board member Todd Bauer asked why the middle school is needed and Clarion Superintendent Dr. Joseph Carrico reiterated the middle school ss needed for a variety of reasons including social/emotional development, adding space at the elementary school, develop the staff better academically in a middle school model.

“There is not one singular thing that is the driver (of starting a middle school),” Carrico said. “It’s the whole ball of what it represents for us.”

Originally, Carrico had hoped to have the middle school up and running by this coming school year but had to postpone the project for a year in order to give parents and students more time to adjust to the plan and for faculty development.

The proposed middle school will be housed on the northern end of the Clarion Area High School building and will consist of the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students.

For Carrico, seeing the plan come to fruition will be a satisfying end to a long process.

“We spent all of last year studying (the middle school),” Carrico said. “We had parent meetings, meetings with staff, meetings with administration. There is a host of reasons why we think this is a good idea.”

Along with the middle school affirmation, the board unanimously approved the district’s membership in the Pennsylvania Mid-Level Educators Association. The cost for membership is $384 annually.

The membership in PAMLE will aid in the development of Clarion Area’s middle school staff.

In other business, the board:

– Approved a facility use agreement with Clarion-Jefferson Head Start.

– Approved a facility use agreement with Jandendi.

– Approved the updated health and safety plan.

– Approved hiring Erin Fox as a high school chemistry/physics teacher at a salary of $52,568.

– Approved hiring Ray Wagner as a full-time custodian at a rate of $10.25 per hour.

– Approved hiring Beth Uckert as a 200-day full-time elementary secretary at a rate of $11.30 per hour.

– Approved Benton Smith as a junior high assistant football coach at a supplemental contract rate of $1,500.

– Approved the following mentor teachers: Amy Breniman for Ashley Kildoo at a Step 0-1 rate of $750; Dave Constantino for Sam Heeter at a Step 7-8 rate of $1,213; Tracy Craig for Lainey Lavelle at a Step 2-3 rate of $889.

– Accepted the resignation of high school teacher Ben Piercy.

– Accepted the resignation of elementary teacher Laura Hoffman.

– Accepted the resignation of softball head coach Dan Shofestall.

– Accepted the resignation of softball assistant coach Matt Best.

– Approved a superintendent commission qualification letter for Roger Walter at a cost of $400.

– Approved the following agreements: Chandra Sheftic, assistant to the superintendent; Kayla Karg, assistant to the business manager; Peggy Rex, part-time food service manager.

– Approved Hager Paving for the following paving projects: Walking track and parking area, $56,969; walking path to upper bleachers at the football/soccer field behind the high school, $9,464; entrance to the football/soccer field behind the high school, $20,449.

– Approved a shared special education agreements with Clarion-Limestone, North Clarion for the 2023-23 school year.

– Approved membership in the Pennsylvania Association of Rural Small Schools membership at a cost of $890 per year.

– Approved a three-year van transportation agreement with Wolbert Bus Company. The district will pay $1.60 per mile for the first year of the contract, $1.65 per mile the second year of the contract and $1.70 per mile the third year of the contract. The district will also pay $4.25 per mile for any extracurricular or athletic trip that the primary contractor cannot cover. The district will provide the contractor with fuel cards for fuel for regular van transportation while the contractor is responsible for the fuel for extracurricular or athletic bus transportation.

– Approved Troy Wolbert, John Huefner and Mary Huefner as van drivers for the Wolbert Bus Company.


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